Gmail Offers Abuse Protection by Detecting Suspicious Activity
Article by George Norman
On 26 Mar 2010
Mountain View-based search engine giant Google, in an effort to protect Gmail users from abuse, has rolled out a new feature for its email client. This new feature warns you if someone from another country has logged into your account. Say you’re from the US and you constantly access your Gmail from the US. Someone accesses your Gmail account from say Poland, shortly after you just logged out.

Gmail detects this and displays a warning:
“Warning: We believe your account was recently accessed from: Poland. Show details and preferences | Ignore”


“To determine when to display this message, our automated system matches the relevant IP address, logged per the Gmail privacy policy, to a broad geographical location. While we don't have the capability to determine the specific location from which an account is accessed, a login appearing to come from one country and occurring a few hours after a login from another country may trigger an alert,” explained Engineering Director with Gmail, Pavni Diwanji.

Click “Show details and preferences” and you will see details about what Google considers to be suspicious. Here’s an image:

Gmail uses HTTPS to ensure your Gmail password or your Gmail communications are not compromised. Still, users can have their account compromised in other ways. For example they fall victim to a phishing attempt, hand over their Gmail username and password to someone with malicious intent, who then uses these login credentials to access the user’s Gmail account. If the person with malicious intent accesses Gmail from a remote location, Gmail picks up on it and informs the user. The user can then change the Gmail password – a link is provided within the “Show details and preferences window.”

“Keep in mind that these notifications are meant to alert you of suspicious activity but are not a replacement for account security best practices,” added Pavni Diwanji. To learn how to keep your Gmail account safe and secure, check out the tips presented by Google here.

Tags: Google, Gmail, Security, Notification
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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